Cat ear infections are generally caused by ear mites, bacteria and polyps or cysts within the ear canal. Ear mites are most often seen in young cats. When the little bugs are crawling around in the ear canal they cause extreme itching. Head shaking and frequent scratching of the ears and face area is often observed. Studies have shown that Florida is one of five states with a higher incidence of cat ear infections (possibly due to climate and local vegetation), so whether you live in in the City of Naples, Golden Gate, Estero, or anywhere else for that matter, it is very important to have your cat examined by a veterinarian if he or she exhibits these symptoms.
To diagnose ear mites, a swab is taken from the ears and the material is examined under a microscope for either the mites or their eggs. The prognosis for treatment is excellent. Following a thorough ear cleaning, a medicine is applied directly into the ear canal which will kill the mites.
Some ear infections in cats can be caused by polyps that develop within the external and internal ear canals as well as the back of the throat or above the soft palate. Typically these polyps are seen in younger cats, although cats of any age can get them. There is no known breed or sex predilection. The cause of naso-pharyngeal polyps is unknown, but it is suspected that inflammation or a calicivirus may play a role. Ear polyps most often require sedation and otoscopy for diagnosis. Treatment for polyps that are negatively affecting the cat often includes surgery.
At Town & Country Animal Hospital, we offer cat ear infection diagnosis and treatment, as well as care and management for many other diseases, including cat flea and tick infestation and dog ear infections.